The Raven Bride (Short Story)

The Raven Bride

The Raven Bride by Sean Fesko (Short Story, Historical Fiction/Paranormal)

We agreed to review The Raven Bride after being approached by the author, even though we don’t normally do short stories. The era and setting is that of the Salem witch trials, a topic that interested us. The description asks the question, “What do you do when the ones that should save you are the ones that accuse you?” As you might guess, you can’t do much.

The year is 1692, and sixteen-year-old Victoria Crowe lives with her mother and little sister just north of Salem, Massachusetts. Her father passed away earlier in the year, leaving the women to survive on their own. The church helps out when it can, but then, one night while their mother is out of the house, the local deputies come to arrest Victoria and her little sister as witches. Will Victoria be able to convince the town that they are not evil?

While Mr. Fesko characterized this as paranormal fiction, I found it to be more along the lines of historical fiction in that it does a good job of entering the mind of an innocent accused of witchcraft in a turbulent time in Colonial history. On the other hand, everything happens so quickly, there is little time to contemplate the fate of Victoria and her family, leaving me feeling somewhat cheated out of what could have been a longer, more intense experience if he had simply turned it into a novella. The paranormal part comes later, and I won’t attempt to explain it here in order to avoid spoilers.

The writing is well done to a point, but there are jarring inconsistencies of language and word usage that took me right out of the story. Victoria is the narrator, and while most of the time she speaks in a somewhat inaccurate, but obviously intended to be, Olde English style, she occasionally throws in modern phrases like “Good job!” or “I lost it” meaning she lost control of her emotions. A few “haths” or “thous” do not Olde English make, and that aspect of the storytelling could have been done much better.

This is a quick read, and it leaves one thinking about good and evil and their origins.

Grandma gives The Raven Bride three stars. 3 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of the book from the author in return for an honest review.

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Between

Between

Between by Dora Hilburn (Young Adult, Paranormal)

Between is a love story, a ghost story, and a coming-of-age story. Seventeen-year-old Anna has inherited an old Victorian house in Florida, and she and her father have moved there from Chicago to fix it up and sell it. Anna is an introvert and perfectly happy to keep to herself, but a local guy, Eric, becomes interested in her and offers to help Anna and her dad work on the house over the summer and she reluctantly accepts his help.

The house is supposedly haunted, and it doesn’t take long for Anna to notice a chill in the air that comes and goes, along with the sensation that she’s being watched. And then, one day, she hears a voice ask why she’s there, and when she responds, her relationship with Wyatt begins.

Wyatt is a nineteen-year-old who died in combat during World War I. He is caught in the “between,” no longer alive, but not ready to cross over to the light. He has chosen to remain as a spirit in the Victorian, the house of his childhood, where he does his best to discourage newcomers from sticking around. But Anna is not scared off; instead, she is the first person to acknowledge his presence without fear. And Wyatt realizes he finally has what he lost because of his premature death—he has found the love of his life. Unfortunately, she is of the real world, and he is not.

The story covers young love in all its painful stages, with an otherworldly threat and a few other complications thrown in for good measure. Anna learns new things about herself and is forced to make hard decisions that will affect the rest of her life.

This book is entertaining and worth the read. It had its slow moments when Grandma found herself skimming in order to get to the meat of the story, but they were not excessive. She did find several proofreading/editing errors that surprised her, including misspelling of commonly confused words like compliment/complement, verb tenses that didn’t quite match, and what she calls chronic abuse of the ellipsis.

Overall, however, Grandma believes the story deserves four stars. 4 stars

Potty-mouth index: CLEAN

Bella Reads and Reviews received Between via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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